UFC Vegas 74: Kara-France vs. Albazi Prediction
UFC VEGAS 74: KARA-FRANCE VS. ALBAZI PREDICTION – The last flyweight non-title main event took place six years ago when Sergio Pettis took on Brandon Moreno. That drought ends this weekend as we have two top ten flyweights take center stage this weekend.
Kai Kara-France is looking to bounce back from his interim title fight loss to Brandon Moreno back in July, hoping to reassert himself in the title picture.
Amir Albazi takes a massive step up in competition and is looking to extend his winning streak to six while stamping a spot amongst the top five of the division.
Will the hard-hitting style of Kara-France reign supreme? Or will the prospect, Albazi, make the transition to contender with a statement win? Read on to find out how these flyweights matchup and which side is the right side of this pick ‘em scrap.
It’s not often fighter a fighter gets a second chance with the UFC, but that’s what Kara-France got after falling short on season 24 of The Ultimate Fighter back in 2016.
After that show, he returned to the regional scene and put together a 5-1 record to get called back up.
He has had some impressive performances since returning and now has a 4-3 record with the company. Two of his three losses came at the hands of Brandon Moreno, who currently rules the flyweight division.
He performed much better in his last outing against him than the first time they met, which shows the improvements Kara-France continues to make.
At his best, Kara-France utilizes solid footwork, explosivity, and power punching combinations to hurt his opponents.
He has finished two of his last three victories with strikes, showcasing how much finishing power he has. The most impressive part of his game has been his defensive grappling improvements which allows him to keep fights in the striking realm, where he feels most comfortable and can find the most success.
He is also very fast and that allows him to land these power shots before his opponents can react and defend them. He is an exciting fighter and more than deserving of this first main event slot.
There was a bit of skepticism around Albazi when he made his UFC debut with only one victory since he had suffered his lone defeat.
That lone defeat came at the hands of a former UFC fighter, Jose Torres, who thoroughly out-grappled Albazi. Regardless, Albazi still has an impressive 16-1 record to be proud of and through his first five UFC fights you see that he deserves to compete at this level.
He used to train out of the same gym as Michael Page, London Shootfighters, but now calls Xtreme Couture home over the last couple of years. I think it’s a great fit for him to continue improving his game and take it to the next level.
The Grapple Game
Albazi’s main game is in the grapple realm, where he uses strong wrestling and slick Brazilian jiu jitsu to control and submit his opponents.
He is consistently improving his striking game, which we saw on full display in his last fight when he knocked his opponent out that stemmed from a beautiful uppercut.
If he continues improving that aspect of his game, he could turn out to be a serious threat in this flyweight division. He looks to have all the skills to be successful at this level, but you must wonder whether he took too big of a step up here.
Win, lose, or draw, this main event experience against a stud like Kai Kara-France will be invaluable to him at this stage of his career.
I think the unknowns of how good Albazi can be against legit competition justifies why this fight should be a pick ‘em, but also a good enough justification to take a shot on the proven veteran, Kara-France.
Albazi does have the grappling advantage here, but he will struggle to implement it as Kara-France traverses the cage and makes him pay with every takedown entry.
Whether it’s with strikes, stuffing the takedown outright, or immediately working back to his feet when he does get taken down, Kara-France will be the one landing more significant strikes and landing the more effective damage that judges will favor.
Albazi could turn out to be the real deal, but history tells us often when a budding prospect takes a big step up in competition, they get derailed.
I think that will be the case this weekend. If you don’t agree with the side, I think the over 3.5 is a solid spot as well. Both guys have finished previous opponents, but I think both are skilled enough to nullify the finishing opportunity for either. I expect this to go the full five rounds.